Mayor’s Red Kettle Challenge Raises Big Money
By Office of Communication
Posted on December 19, 2011, December 19, 2011

Mayor's Red Kettle Challenge 12/2011Arlington topped area cities in a friendly competition to raise money for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign.

With the help of Mayor Robert Cluck, who volunteered Saturday as a bell ringer, the city raised $13,305.72. Mansfield came in second with $10,229.60.

"This is a special time of year, and there are a lot of special needs," Cluck said while ringing the bell with his wife, Linda, at Wal-Mart across from Cowboys Stadium. "We're trying to help the Salvation Army do important work in our community." The mayoral challenge began on a whim two years ago, when Cluck challenged Mansfield Mayor David Cook to see who could raise more money.

Both years, Mansfield came out on top.

Not this year. Cluck recruited a handful of city council members to volunteer as bell ringers and turned to Wal-Mart, which donated a check for $6,000.

Pantego, Dalworthington Gardens and Kennedale also joined this year's challenge, collecting $3,056, $1,904 and $674, respectively.

The Salvation Army raises a third of its annual operating budget through the Red Kettle Campaign, said Captain Andy Miller, corps officer for the Arlington-Mansfield area.

"This little challenge has become a big part of how we are able to meet the needs in our community," Miller said. "Money raised in this area stays in this area."

In the past five years, the number of people the area Salvation Army served soared by 125 percent, Miller said. Last year, the organization provided 12,214 nights of shelter, 30,945 meals and 2,853 days of childcare in after-school programs.

This year's mayoral challenge helped generate big donations. An average kettle receives $500 a day in donations, Miller said. Combined, the five competing kettles earned $29,171.34, helping the Salvation Army hit its goal of $497,000 this holiday season.

Cluck said volunteering as a bell ringer is an easy way to serve the community.

"We should be helping our fellow citizens," Cluck said, as shoppers stopped by to give donations.

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